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Calcium

170
4.1
NABL, CAP, ISO
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Overview
Interpreting Results
FAQ's
Calcium

Overview of Ca

What is Ca?

Calcium (Ca2+) is both a mineral and an electrolyte which plays important roles in a number of body activities. It is vital in the formation and maintenance of healthy bones of proper density. Calcium is also essential in the process of cell signaling (communication between cells to coordinate cellular activities in a tissue and interaction with other tissues), blood clotting, and in the proper functioning of muscles, heart, and nerves. The Calcium Test (Total) measures the total amount of calcium in the blood.

Why is Ca done?

The Calcium Test is performed:

  • As a part of regular metabolic panel health checkups to measure calcium levels in the blood
  • Upon the appearance of symptoms indicating excess or shortfall of calcium
  • To check for diseases causing abnormalities in calcium level in blood like thyroid or parathyroid disorders, heart diseases, kidney diseases, neurological diseases, pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas) and bone and teeth diseases
  • At regular intervals to monitor treatment efficacy of calcium supplements or Vitamin D supplements
  • To monitor critically ill patients
  • To monitor the progress of the condition and the efficacy of treatment after the kidney transplant, and in certain types of cancer
  • To monitor calcium levels during and after large-volume blood transfusions

What does Ca Measure?

Calcium is essential for body processes including cell signaling, blood clotting, contraction of muscles, and functioning of nerves. It plays a crucial role in the formation and maintenance of healthy bones. Deficiency of calcium results in Osteoporosis, a disease in which the bones lose their density and become soft and fragile, causing them to fracture very easily.

About 99% of the total amount of calcium received by the body is bound as calcium complex in bones, and the remaining 1% lies in blood circulation. Of the amount of calcium circulating in the blood, about half remains bound to albumin protein or other ions and are metabolically inactive, while the remaining half remains free and metabolically active. Blood Calcium tests can be of two types: Total Calcium Test used to measure the total calcium concentration in blood including both the free and bound forms, and Ionized Calcium Test used to measure the concentration of only the metabolically active form.

Calcium levels in the blood are maintained within a very narrow range by a number of mechanisms. Deviation from the normal range of calcium concentration causes Hypocalcemia (low levels of calcium), or Hypercalcemia (excess of calcium). Both these conditions impact normal body processes in the short term and may give rise to other conditions in the long term.

A blood calcium test cannot be used to check for a lack of calcium in your diet or for osteoporosis (loss of calcium from bones) as the body can have normal calcium levels even in case of dietary deficiency of Calcium. The body can augment mild calcium deficiency by releasing the calcium stored in bones.

Preparation for Ca

  • Do not eat or drink anything other than water for 8-12 hours before the test.

Sample Type for Ca

The sample type collected for Calcium is: Blood

Interpreting Ca results

Interpretations

Normal range: 8.5 to 10.5 mg/dL (2.2 to 2.7 mmol/L approx.)

Hypocalcemia: Below 8.5 mg/dL (Below 2.2 mmol/L approx.)

Hypercalcemia: Above 10.5 mg/dL (Above 2.7 mmol/L approx.)

Calcium concentration in the body is maintained within a narrow normal range between 8.5mg/dL and 10.5mg/dL.

Hypocalcemia or low blood calcium is indicated if calcium concentration lies below the normal range.

Hypercalcemia or high blood calcium is indicated if calcium concentration lies above the normal range.


Answers to Patient Concerns & Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Ca

Frequently Asked Questions about Calcium

Q. How is this test performed?
This test is performed on a blood sample. A syringe with a fine needle is used to withdraw blood sample from a blood vessel in your arm generally from the inner side of the elbow area. The doctor, nurse or the phlebotomist will tie an elastic band around your arm which will help the blood vessels to swell with blood. This makes it easier to withdraw blood. You may be asked to tightly clench your fist. Once the veins are clearly visible, the area is cleaned with an antiseptic solution and then the needle is inserted into the blood vessel to collect the sample. You may feel a tiny pinprick during the procedure. Blood sample once collected is then sent to the laboratory.
Q. Is there any risk associated with this test?
There is no risk associated with the test. However, since this test involves a needle prick to withdraw the blood sample, in very rare cases, a patient may experience increased bleeding, hematoma formation (blood collection under the skin), bruising or infection at the site of needle prick.
Q. What is Hypocalcemia?
Hypocalcemia is a condition where the blood calcium levels are below the normal range. This may occur due to: · Low levels of blood protein, especially albumin · Hypoparathyroidism or reduced secretion of parathyroid hormones · Genetic resistance to parathyroid hormones · Dietary deficiency of calcium · Intolerance of dietary calcium · Vitamin D deficiency · Magnesium deficiency · High phosphorus concentration in blood · Acute pancreatitis (inflammation of pancreas) · Hormonal changes in women after menopause · Renal failure · Alcoholism
Q. What are the symptoms of Hypocalcemia?
Symptoms of Hypocalcemia include: · Weak and brittle hairs · Brittle nails · Thin and brittle bones which fracture easily · Confusion · Memory loss · Numbness and tingling sensation · Muscle spasms and cramps · Depression · Hallucinations · Seizures Short term or mild deficiency of calcium usually produces very little symptoms. This happens because the body can augment mild calcium deficiency by releasing the calcium stored in bones. Symptoms appear in case of chronic or long term calcium deficiency.
Q. What is Hypercalcemia?
Hypercalcemia is the condition where blood calcium levels rise higher than the normal range. This may occur due to: · Hyperparathyroidism or increased secretion of parathyroid hormones · Hyperthyroidism or increased secretion of thyroid hormones · Prolonged period of immobility as in bed rest · Sarcoidosis, a condition that produces nodules in different organs · Tuberculosis · Overconsumption of Vitamin D · Treatment by thiazide diuretics · Kidney transplant · HIV/AIDS · Cancer
Q. What are the symptoms of Hypercalcemia?
Symptoms of Hypercalcemia include: · Headache · Weakness and fatigue · Excessive urination and thirst · Nausea · Pain in abdomen · Constipation · Abnormal heartbeat or cardiac arrhythmia · Weak and brittle bones · Muscular cramps · Depression and irritability · Confusion · Coma
Q. Is there any preparation required before the Calcium test?
Inform the doctor about any medications you may be taking. Some medications like antacids, diuretics, lithium, Vitamin D supplements, etc. can affect the test results and may have to be stopped before testing. No other preparations are required unless specified by your doctor.
Q. When can false results appear in the Calcium Test?
False results may appear in newborns, showing hypocalcemia. This is usually due to immature parathyroid gland. False results may also appear after a large volume blood transfusion. Some medications can elevate or lower blood calcium levels.
Q. What other tests can be prescribed by your doctor in case Calcium test result is not normal?
Others tests that may be prescribed upon the appearance of an abnormal result in the blood Calcium test include: · Ionized Calcium Test · Urine Calcium Test · Vitamin D Test · Electrolyte Panel Test · Kidney Function Test · Parathyroid Hormone (PTH) Test · PTH Related Peptide Test (PTHrH) · Electrocardiography (ECG)
Q. Which food items are good source of calcium?
Dietary sources form the principal source of calcium. Some very commonly available food items rich in calcium are: · Seeds and nuts · Milk and dairy products · Beans · Lentils · Green leafy vegetables
Q. What is Osteoporosis and how is it related to calcium deficiency?
Osteoporosis is a disease where the bone density is drastically reduced, making them very weak, brittle, and easily susceptible to fracture. Symptoms do not usually appear until there is a fracture. Osteoporosis occurs mostly due to a continuous loss of calcium and insufficient dietary replacement. Calcium is required for nerve and muscle functioning, hence any shortage of it in blood is made up by supplying calcium from the bones. This loss of bone calcium causes the bones to lose bone mass and density, making them soft and brittle.
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With a decade of experience under its belt, Oncquest is known for its excellence in Clinical Diagnostics. From its first avatar as an R&D focused entity, Oncquest has evolved into a reference laboratory in the field of Oncology, and more recently into a multi-platform Pathology Services provider with a core focus in Molecular Pathology and Surgical Pathology Services. Its logistic capabilities and geographical spread makes Oncquest an ideal associate for clinical activities in India. Oncquest’s accredited quality systems ensure customer satisfaction through any of its customer-centric service offerings. Oncquest’s recent advances in the areas of Companion Diagnostics and Pharmacogenomics have also allowed for and encouraged greater penetration of Personalized Medicine into the Indian healthcare market, making it the future epicentre of the many technological advancements in healthcare, to come. Its close association with many Hospitals across India stands testament to the faith that Oncquest has instilled in the doctors and patients which avail of its services. Oncquest is fast becoming a cornerstone for a blooming healthcare industry. With over a decade of experience in the field of molecular diagnostics and pathology services, Oncquest Laboratories has earned its reputation of clinical excellence in the Indian market. Our advanced technologies and global quality systems have ensured that we stay ahead of the curve, and this has resulted in our association with some of the most advanced clinicians, hospitals and research organizations in the country. As India gets set for a clinical revolution, ushering in a trend of new healthcare services and products, Oncquest has defined its place as a partner of choice for those who bring value to our proud subcontinent. Our national reach and sizeable knowledge base allows us to be at the forefront of scientific advances, and an ideal partner for clinical activities. We strive to be connected with the best in the industry and we welcome partnership in ideas and technologies. For example, Oncquest’s early adoption and utilization of genetic sequencing technologies has resulted in many “first to market” assays, which have subsequently been adopted in several treatment and monitoring protocols. Innovation is an essential part of our DNA. We welcome challenges, and look forward to associating with you and your organizations to develop pioneering solutions and to tackle some of the most pressing issues faced in our world.

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